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February 24, 2013

Retiring? Talk to your family about concerns

By KATHY SMITH

For many couples, retirement if long waited can be an exciting event that will allow more time for hobbies, traveling and family. However, for some they may not expect that retirement may change their relationship as well as their marriage.

For example, leaving the workforce can have a long-lasting effect on how we feel about ourselves and how we can relate to others and especially our spouse.

There is research on marital relationships that has found that retirement tends to magnify the relationship already in place. Many couples who share common interests tend to have a positive experience after retirement. However, there are many couples though who may not have a happy marriage and experience problems.

Research has shown several factors that can affect marital quality for retired couples. Here are a few examples:

• Timing of retirement: The decision about when to retire, and who retires first can have important consequences. When one spouse retires first, this can often lead to resentment and regret. Couples who usually retire at about the same time appear to adjust to retirement the most smoothly. However, these couples do have to get used to spending so much time together.

• Retirement goals: Couples who have different plans for retirement often experience more disagreements than those with the same retirement goals. For example, if one wants to spend their time traveling, but the other prefers to stay at home, there will need to be negotiation or compromise.

• Household chores: Deciding who does what in household tasks in retirement can be important for happiness. There needs to be an equal share of the responsibilities. Couples need to discuss how to handle these duties as sometimes one ends up doing most of the work, or one may feel smothered as there is not equal. 

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